Walt Disney Studios was in a funk in 1959 after its expensive, lavishly animated fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty" didn't awaken at the box office.
"Sleeping Beauty" had been a pet project of Walt Disney, who had mandated that the film "should look like a moving tapestry," animator-director Frank Gladstone said. "It was heavily art-directed. The animation was so pristine and precise."
Perhaps too precise. Though it received high marks for its visual style, "it didn't carry the emotion people expected from a Disney film," Gladstone added.
Veteran animator Floyd Norman, a young artist at Disney at the time, said the studio had...